Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 31--Dear Elder: Trip to Grandpa and Grandma's

Well, now it's Sunday.  I guess I didn't get much opportunity to write this week.  Thursday I stayed home and did a bit of laundry, etc.  When Dad and Kat and Thom got home, we took off.  After a nice sleep in a hotel, we went to the pawn shop dad has been wanting to see.  We also went to the M&M's store, the Coke store, and the Clark County Museum.  I especially loved the museum.  Later, Dad and Thomas had fun swimming while I slept and Katrina read.  The next day we drove on to Grandpa and Grandma's.  We got there in time for me and Katrina to attend the General Young Women's meeting and then for all of us to go to the Easter pageant.  Both were amazing!  I'm so glad we got to go.  Now it is Sunday.  The man who was bishop when I was a teenager gave an Easter talk in sacrament meeting, and it was wonderful.  Now we are back at Grandpa and Grandma's.  Celeste and her new husband, Jacob, are here, too.  Soon we will be hunting Easter eggs.  It should be lots of fun.

I love you very much, Matt, and hope you had a wonderful Easter.  Please tell us about it and about all the other things that you have been doing.  I love you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 28--Dear Elder: This Week's First Installment

Dear Elder,
Thank you for your last letter.  It was good to hear how your week went.  I know that things aren't easy for you, and I pray for you all the time.  Thank you so much for your fun and happy letters.  You help us keep our perspective, and we like hearing about what is happening with you.  Keep telling us stuff about your life!

Sunday, we didn't get to Skype with Cassandra and family, but Monday I did get to Skype with her and Lily.  It was so fun!  And in the middle of Skyping, Katrina came home and got to talk, too.  Lily showed us all around her room and all her toys.  It was really cute.  She also did the actions for "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" while her mommy sang.  She couldn't show us her baby, because she couldn't find it, but she showed us how she puts Pooh Bear to bed.  She sure talks well!  Cassandra says that she hides Lily's binkies so that she can only have them when she's sleeping and at church, but Lily always seems to find a spare.  Cassandra says she thinks Lily actually stashes them away for when she can't find one. Funny!

Monday we had a nice Family Home Evening.  Katrina gave the lesson about Lehonti.  She did a wonderful job and really prepared it well.  Miriam had the activity and had us play Beatles Rock Band. I took pictures for you!  Now that I have a smart phone, I can take pictures more often.

Tuesday I subbed for Dad.  He went to the dentist and got a crown put in.  That night, Dad and I went to the temple, and it was wonderful!  Going to the temple really helps us have an eternal perspective.  With all this work on the house, my priorities got a bit out of focus.  I started out well--very thankful and focused on Heavenly Father, but as the work progressed, I thought more and more about the house and less and less about Him.  Just this week, I have realized that I was beginning to place the affections of my heart on the blessings instead of the Blessing Giver, and as I've done that, I have become more and more unhappy.  Anyway, going to the temple really helped me in my efforts to turn my heart to God.  Also, I fasted on Monday which helped me a lot.

Yesterday, I subbed in fifth grade, and they were a wonderful class.  I feel very blessed because I was nervous about subbing fifth grade.  It has been hard going back to subbing after that long hiatus caring for Grandma.

Miriam got some letters from Preston yesterday, and he even wrote one to us.  He is going to church and says he likes his bishop.  That is a real blessing.  Before he left, we talked to him often about going to church and told him that he would find friends and comfort there.  I also wrote him a letter about prayer and reminded him that he could pray in his heart any time, any where, about any thing.  Miriam says he sounds happy.  I asked her if she thought he was just making an effort to sound that way, but she says no, so that is good.

It is Thursday morning and I will spend most of the time that everyone is at school preparing for our trip.  Miriam is awake and eating breakfast.  Thomas has been getting ready for school and listening to the "Rap of Manliness," and I am writing to you!  Dad and Katrina are still asleep.

March 25--Email From Matt!

Thomas, I'm glad to hear that you were able to do a camp out, but what else did you do? I miss ya bud, keep safe.

Dad, yes, the people here would probably kill for that job, although there are a few people that have really good jobs, haha, ok You''d better send me pictures or I will be wroth. DAD I AM NOT GETTING TOWARDS THE END OF MY MISSION!!!! I STILL HAVE MORE THAN A YEAR LEFT!!!!!! sheesh, don't Scare me like that! haha, but yes, I cannot thank you enough for that, it will (WILL, as in when I am almost done with my mission, in like 12 months) take a weight off of my mind. Thank you so much because I will admit once or twice the thought has crossed my mind as to how the heck am I going to be able to study after the mess I left my GPA in.

As for PMG, yeah, it should be a study guide as well as a ''book''  That's cool about realizing how important the family is, maybe you should start trying to do some family history work done, you might really like it. What do you think about Jon moving away? It certainly would be a big risk for him if he doesnt make it. Love ya dad!!

Mom, yeah, I thought it was a pretty cool comparison too. It serves as a good warning for us today becasue there are a lot of things that we are exposed to that seem harmless but they can come to dominate our lives if we are not careful. We actually did see one of the people that I helped out, He saw us yesterday and told us that he now has a job and is working as a captain on a fishing boat, and has his own house. I'm still a little bit worried that he is some kind of a con-artist but I guess I'll just have to wait and see. khaha. Also, I wanted to tell you, I'm super glad that Kyle is going to go on a mission!!!! That makes me happy. I love you mom!

Katrina, That sounds... wierd, and I don't think that mom understood the story line of the play from what she wrote me. Now what are you going to do that you don't have the play going on? What did you mean by: ''We can talk while we watch.  :P'' it was the first sentance of your letter to me.

Miriam, Wow, that's a packed daily schedual, it looks like you only have about 2 hours of free time, are you not going to school? or are you on vacation?How's preston doing? (I'm writing that in anticipation that he will have sent you a letter by the time you write me back) Stay safe,

Thomas, :P :P :P :P :P Hha,a so, I heard that you are getting tall and buff, don't over-do it becasue I still have to be able to beat you up to keep my: Older Brother card,  watcha doin? Tell me aobut your life.

Weekly letter, I've had a hard but good week, learning to walk in the ways of meekness and seeing that light through the storm. Praxedis is still progressing quite well, but she wasn't able to come to church this week and she still doesn't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I've come to know that I really do need the Lord's help because I'm nothing without him, We are less than we suppose, but he loves me, and all of us so much that he is willing to forgive us of our wrong doings and let us be clean of the guilt of past mistakes, He does that because he loves us so much, and, becasue of that, we are more than we suppose. Well, I gotta go, still have to save the world today, and eat lunch too. Please pray for me, and know that I am praying for every single one of you.

March 25--Excerpts from Family Letters to Matt

Dear Matt,

So this week has mostly been about dental work.  I've had a sore tooth that has had way too many fillings in it and I knew that I would eventually have to get a root canal and a crown.  It has been killing me for months, every time I would have something cold that hit it, it would just about put me through the roof.  So I went and got a root canal last week.  then I am going in Tuesday to get a temp crown and then a real crown two weeks after that.  I also went and got new eyeglasses because it was time, my prescription was old and I couldn't see things close up. My boss told me he wants me to work night school for the rest of the year. It will help make up the money I've lost.  I might go ahead and teach night school next year as well.  Being home by 6 isn't so bad.  funny, I bet people iin Mexico would kill to make what I will make an hour teaching night school, but to me I think, hmm, not really worth it!  It is much less than half what I make at my day job but still better than I could make somewhere else.

I loved your letter, as always, and don't worry, I will wait till 3 months before the end of your mission to bug you about visiting you!  I will say one off topic thing, I mean, you are a good missionary and focused on the work, but even so, as you get towards the end, I know it is hard to not think about what will happen to you when you get back.  Don't worry, things will work out and you will be able to get back into school, there, I said it, now I'll leave it alone and let you focus on the important work of sharing the gospel!

I should get preach my gospel, I hadn't thought about it as a study guide, that is a good idea.

Jon is thinking about moving.  Evidently it is easier to move in Costco up back East, he would be only a few hours from Cassandra, all in all it might be really good for him.

Thanks for the scripture in Alma about Lehonti, that is good food for thought.
Next Sunday we will be writing from Grandpa and Grandma's!  I AM excited to see them and the rest of the clan.  the older I get, the more important I realize family is.

I can't wait to hear about your week, I will make sure and send you pictures from our vacation.  Hopefully, we will have the upstairs 100 percent done before we go.
I am so proud of what you are doing and jealous(in a good way) of you!  being on a mission was one of the highlights of my life!

Dear Elder,
We can talk while we watch.  :P Well, you see, the thing about the one act is that it’s surreal and has a weird story line.  There are only two speakers, a boy and a girl, who speak for everyone.  It starts out with a photographer whose camera is out of order and things keep coming out of it.  An ostrich, a bathing beauty, a lion, and a baby all come out of the camera.  The photographer keeps trying to take a picture of the wedding party on the Eiffel Tower, but those things keep appearing.  In the end you find out that it’s a painting and I, the art collector, buy it.  Then everyone leaves the picture.  It’s really weird.  Anyway, I’m currently reading the Screwtape Letters.  Have you ever read it?  What you talked about in you letter about temptation reminded me of it.  It’s a really good book.  I’m glad to hear that you like your mission.  That’s really good.  Home’s going to be very different when you get back.  The kitchen and living room look different, as you know, but mostly we look different.  Thomas is getting really tall and buff.  Miriam has short hair that’s brown and she has no glasses. I, well, I don’t know how I’ve changed.  You’ll have to see for yourself.  Oh! Last night I had a dream about you.  You died and it was really sad.  The saddest part was that I convinced myself that it wasn’t a dream.  Yeah.  Please don’t die.  Anyway, I can’t wait to go to the warm weather this week. It snowed here yesterday and that made me sad.  Tell me something cool that’s happened.

There’s not much to say about my life! I’ve been working every day. I had to drop half of my classes to fit in my work schedule. I’m still going to graduate though. Every day pretty much goes like this: 3 hours at school, 6 hours at work, 1 hour to eat and rest, 40 minutes to do Insanity and then another hour and a half to get ready for bed and write Preston. I still haven’t gotten a letter from him yet, but I know he’s going to church down there. I’m sorry my life is so boring! I hope everything is going well for you! Have a good week.

Dear matt,
 So in this week I was going to go golfing with Jon but the weather was bad so I went on a campout with the scouts instead, it was really fun and all we did was play games with other troops. I gave a talk in church this Sunday and It was pretty good, here I’ll send it to ya:

(Blog Note:  The following is an excerpt from Thomas's talk.)

                So In this talk I'm going to shy away from the death of Jesus and more of the resurrection of Jesus and what he did. So I like to imagine that right after Jesus died him going to the spirit world and the angels being like “hey Jeb there’s another new one coming you go welcome him.” “Oh bill I welcomed the last guy that came in!” “Stop complaining and go show him around!” “Fine…” and then he would be all like “hey how’s it going welcome to the spirit world-“ then his eyes would get all wide and then he would go nuts, cus I mean this is his oldest brother and not only that! He is the one that is going to make it possible for them all going to be forgiven! And the fact that he is here and back means that Jesus did it, he did it, were saved! We are all going to be resurrected! And then everyone gathers around so full of joy, so happy and just when they think that there’s nothing else better that they could hear right then Jesus says: “Hey guys guess what, we are now going to be able to teach the people in spirit prison the gospel and be able to teach them and convert them if they accept the gospel.” This is the biggest moment in history guys! And now the angels in heaven can’t even control themselves I imagine them just flying around playing their trumpets and singing songs of joy. I can just picture one angel flying around Jerusalem and just doing a double take, because there down on the earth there is a woman and, she is crying. Of all things she is crying! So he flies down there wondering how anyone could cry at such a time as this? “why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen”

President Thomas S. Monson said
“No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when, on the first day of the week, they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord.”

                Guys, this means that now everyone will be resurrected, Easter is a promise to everybody that we will be resurrected no matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done we will all get our bodies back. No unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of god, Jesus suffered for our sins so that we can be clean but it is our choice whether we take advantage of this amazing thing called the atonement or not it is our choice to be made clean. I bear my testimony that Jesus is the only way back into heaven and we would all be lost without him, in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

It was pretty cool

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dear Elder--Wrapping Up My Weekly Letter To Matt

Dear Elder,
Hi, How are you?  I hope your week has been a good one.  I have been praying that you will be inspired to know where to go and what to do in order to find people and bring them to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for your words about Lehonti on the hill Onidah.  They are especially applicable to us at this time.  I think I have the lesson for FHE this week, but I'm not sure.  If I do, I want to give a lesson on what you said.  I'm sorry you saw nothing come of the inspired conversations that you had with people last week, but it may have planted the seed of truth, and someday it may grow.  How are things going this week?  I hope you are well and happy and that you like our letters.  

(Blog note:  I will insert the other letter installments here.)

It is now Sunday.  Yesterday Dad wanted to take off.  Thomas was still at his camp out and Miriam and Katrina were cleaning their room, so we left, just us.  We had a very nice time being together.
We got back at about 6:00.  Thomas said he had a nice camp out.  They let them sleep in cabins because of the weather, and he didn't have to leave early, because there was no way we would be able to drive to all that snow to pick him up.  Dad took a nap while Miriam, Katrina, Thomas, and I cooked dinner.  It was lots of fun to cook it together, because the kitchen has been torn up for so long, we have not had that opportunity for awhile.  We made breakfast for dinner.  When Dad woke up, we had a delicious meal together, and  Jonathan joined us, too, which was nice.

After dinner, we played a game that I had played while I was away for Celeste's wedding called "Who, what, where."  We didn't have the actual cards, so we made our own.  It is a drawing game, and we enjoyed trying to figure out each other's pictures.  I am so glad we had some time together, yesterday!

Today we will have about 2 hours together as a family before I have to leave for meetings.  We are hoping to Skype with Cassandra, Emerson, and Lily.  Cassandra says Lily is very into babies right now and likes to put them to bed and give them loves.  She said she found the manger with baby Jesus in it from the Fisher Price play set that Sarah gave her, and was so excited.  She carried it around and babied it all day.  She says "popcorn" and "chicken nuggets" now.  She is really beginning to talk.  I can't wait to Skype!

Well, Matt, I love you so much!  The thought of you on a mission fills me with joy.  We will keep praying for you, of course, and I know that Heavenly Father will bless you.  He loves you so much and is with you at every step.  Have a wonderful week, full of the Spirit!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dear Elder--This Week's Second Letter Installment: Camping, Snow, Shopping, and Hand-held Devices

It is Saturday morning and I am the only one in the house who is awake.  Katrina is at choir and Thomas is on a campout.  Jon came down last night to inform us that Thomas is sleeping in a cabin and has Wifi service.  Some camp out.  I can't help but feel relieved, though, since there is a thick blanket of snow on the ground this morning.  But I am not happy about him having his ipod up there.  I'm going to have to have a talk with that boy.  Don't worry, the only thing he can get via internet is texting.

Today I am supposed to drive up there and get him so that he can go to a party hosted by the water park, you know, the one where employees who worked last year go to get re-hired and also bring friends who want to be hired?  We promised a boy Thomas's age that Thomas would take him.  I don't look forward to driving up to get him in the snow.

I substituted the last two days, and it all went well.  It's weird how, after lunch recess, a practically perfect class turns into a mess, especially if recess is inside.  Dad and I went out last night, and I planned the date.  We!  Dad is such a good sport.  Then we came home and watched a movie.  

I have been reading "Little Dorrit" by Charles Dickens.  With the Smart Phone, I can carry hundreds of books with me in my pocket.  It has been very nice.  I also like the calendar with reminders.  I need them.  They saved our entire family from missing their dentist appointments just the other day.  

 Our plans for this weekend are pretty vague.  Let's see...besides getting Thomas to his party and back, they consist of us eating breakfast for dinner after church on Sunday and me going to a couple of meetings after that. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21--Dear Elder Letter Installment: Teeth, Books, and Birdies

Today is Thursday, and we have been having a nice week.  The kitchen cabinets are all put in now, so we have a sink and fridge and it all looks beautiful.  Dad got the water hooked up to the fridge so that we have ice and fridge water now, and he also put in missing base boards and molding underneath the new window sill.  Things are coming right along!

Yesterday I worked to put the office stuff back in to place.  I didn't organize it real well because my organizational stamina is exhausted.  We went to the dentist yesterday.  The dentist always talks about how clean my teeth are.  This time he said that I must have the cleanest house in the world.........................................................................Ha!.........................Ha ha!.......................................Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha ha ha ha ha !  Just a bit of hysterical laughter, there, sorry.

Tuesday was the day they put our cabinets in, and I didn't have a real effective day.  I did finish reading Enchanted April, though.  I love that book!  When I went to watch Elizabeth's kids a couple of weeks ago, I brought along our old, ratty copy that is missing the cover.  Elizabeth came home from the hospital for something, so I sent the book back with her so that she'd have something to do.  I told her, "Don't loose the bookmark, because it's the last page of the book!"  Anyway, when she came to visit with her girls last week, she brought me an new copy.  Isn't that sweet?  Maybe she lost the last page.

Monday we saw Katrina's play.  It was a French play from the 1920's called Eiffel Tower Wedding.  It was supposed to be very surrealistic, so it was crazy and silly and made no sense.  The most that I can tell you about it is that every time the photographer tried to take a picture of the wedding party, he'd yell, "Watch the birdie!" but instead of a birdie, something else would always come out of the camera--a lion, a child, etc.  There was an ostrich running in and out occasionally, and the photographer finally got it back into the camera.  Maybe that was the birdie.  Katrina played the part of an investor that wanted to buy the photo of the wedding party.  She did a good job.  Funny that I asked her if she had a talking part, since no one had a talking part except the two narrators who spoke for everyone.

Katrina's play was early, and Dad still had to go work at the laundry.  Since it was family home evening night, and whatever we do on family home evening, we all do together, we all went to the laundry.  We didn't do much besides watch American Pickers on TV, though.  Well, Thomas and Miriam did their laundry.

Today I substitute, in the morning for Special Ed, and after noon for second grade.  I hope it goes well since I had very little sleep last night.  I think lack of sleep has aged me about five extra years.  Can you believe that if I had gotten more sleep, I be even more youthfully beautiful?  It's true.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Letter From Mat--Easy Way to Write Matt, Notes to Family Members, Don't be like Lehonti!

They're chicken feet!  They eat them here, how weird

Hey! So, turns out that I can now send and receive E-mails from all around the world from anyone, also, because of that new change of rules, we have 2 hours to write every body! and because of that, I don't think I'm going to print off letters any more.

Miriam, I'm really glad that you got that job! I hope that you do well there! Are you thinking about going to college? Where are you going? I heard you got a full ride scholarship! That's awesome! Tell me more about it! Tell me more about your life? How ya doing?

Katrina, Well I hope that I'll be able to just get back and talk... I will admit that it's very hard for me to speak English and very hard for me to write too, but writing in my journal helps me. You did not tell me that you had gotten a part, but you did tell me that there was a chance that you would be getting a part. How cool! Tell me a little bit about the story line! Its true, I'm having a great time here. I am kinda torn because I don't really want to go back... But I guess I still have more than a year to enjoy the mission. I would love to watch legend of korra with you but I'm really debating whether or not I'm going to watch TV when I get back, it really sucks away your life.

Thomas, Did you know that Richard does pole jumping? You should ask him about it, it sounds like the kind of event just for you! (skinny little bean poles using wooden poles to jump really high) haha, just joking, so how's your finger doing? The guy never went to church... maybe he was just a skammer. well, I guess we'll see. Tell me more about your amazing life! Stay safe physically, mentally and spiritually.

Mom, so, The woman and the guy? Well, I haven't heard a thing about them... Hhaha. I think the greatest thing that I've learned so far is that I haven't learned enough! haha :) I am sure that the Lord will answer your prayers too, and I really hope he does because I need them haha :) So, a bout of not being able to sleep... Let's see... I think that you should try and explain the problem to the Lord, and ask for all the help that you can get, explain why its important for you and for your kids. Other than that.... Maybe you have a problem like Dad's. Have you done a sleep study yet? Thanks for everything you do for me, including the letters! I love you.

Dad, I'm really glad to hear that you had a good week, I'm going to answer a few of your questions from last week. No, I don't see crowds of gringos from cruise ships. No, people don't think I'm a tourist. No, I don't see famous people, or I haven't yet.  As for your letter this week, I can tell that you are excited to be going away for spring bread haha, I'm also glad that you had a great week! So, you remember how I said that you wouldn't be able to come down and pick me up... that might be a lie... I don't know, if you want to, a few months before my mission ends, you can e-mail my mission president and explain what you want to do, maybe he'll say yes, maybe he'll say no, who knows, just don't bug me about it haha! (I don't know why I said that, you haven't been bugging me at all.) I'm super glad that you've been studying the scriptures! You should use preach my Gospel to improve your studies. You should look at pmg as more of a guide book or text book or instruction manual and less as something that you read from cover to cover. I love you Dad!ç
OK, this week, what am I going to write...... Hmm.....

well....... Thomas, prepare for a mission right now, ask the Lord about it and get a testimony, nourish that testimony through scripture study and daily and constant prayer. Miriam and Katrina, you should do the same thing but instead of a mission, looking forward to matrimony, teaching your children will be 100 times more important than teaching an investigator, and think about serving a mission, as it could bless your life in countless ways,
Another thing,

We should never trick or fool ourselves into doing something bad, don't justify something wicked, and if doing something puts you in dangerous situations, stop doing doing that thing. If you do something that puts you in a dangerous situation but you think that you can ''withstand'' the temptation, stop doing that thing. It doesn't matter if we ''withstand'' a temptation or not, if we compromise our standards, it will eventually lead to a spiritual down-fall.

Just look at Alma chapters 47, (I'm going to ask that you all briefly re-read or skim the chapter as I don't have time to write a summary) we all know about Lehonti who was on top of the mountain and how he and his army were determined not to come down and speak with Amalickiah  and how he was tricked into coming down, but how could he have withstood the temptation completely? The answer comes much earlier in verse 5, when the Lamanites flee from the king's army, they decided to flee to Onidah,  the place of arms. Why didn't they decide to flee to the people of Ammon, the Righteous group of Lamanites that would not lift a sword to save their own life? They would've been safe there to live in the ways of God, but they were not willing to abandon the ways of man and the tradicions of their fathers, or perhaps it was the fear of the imagined punishment that drove them to Onidah,  and so they faced the slow degradation of their ''determined resolution'' to ''not be subjected to go against the Nephites,'' fade and crumble.

If we are not willing to abandon the acts that lead us to sin, we will eventually end up in our own mountain, where the easiest option will be to watch a similar degradation of our own standards and values.
Don't do the same thing as the Lamanites.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17--To Matt From His Three Youngest Siblings

I got a job with State Farm Insurance this week. My teacher told me about it and so I gave it a shot and ended up getting it. I start on Tuesday. I get to drop half my schedule so I can work. Besides that, I spent a lot of time catching up for the end of the term. I was sick a little bit so I missed some school. How was your week? It was cool to hear stories.

Dear Elder,
Miriam and I didn’t go to Disneyland.  We were planning to go the last week in April, but we decided that it would be too much money, so we’re not going to go.  I have read those chapters in Alma before, but they don’t answer my question.  I can’t really describe what my question really is over email.  Maybe I’ll ask you when you get back.
 I think I’ve told you this, but I’m in the one act play that we’re doing and we’re performing on Monday and competing on Tuesday.  It’s a really weird, abstract play.  It’s funny though.  I’ve been chosen as one of 50 kids in our school to be entered to win an Ipad from Ken Garff.  I find out if I win it on Friday.  If I do, I could also win a car.  That would be nice.  On Saturday, we went to go see the new Oz movie that came out from Disney.  (It’s about the Wizard of Oz when he first comes to Oz.)  It was pretty good.  Iron Man 3 is coming out soon.  I’m really excited to see it.  So Matt, when you come back, are you going to take an English class to learn how to speak and write again?   It sounds like you’re having a great time living in Mexico and serving the Lord.  When you get back, we’ll watch the Hobbit and Legend of Korra (season 2 is coming out in about a month) and I’ll show you Doctor Who.  Tell us some cool stories and send us some pictures when you write back, ok? I love you!
Dear matt,
So this week I started track and I thought that I would be really good at the long jump, but it turns out that I am terrible at every single event but that’s okay, I like track anyways cus its making me buffer and that’s always a good thing. So did that guy ever go to church? That would be cool if you got him to be like an amazing convert story or something. That would be cool. So yesterday we saw the great and powerful Oz which was a cool movie and it was like a prequel to the wizard of Oz and it was pretty cool. We went to a fireside tonight and I liked it a lot the speaker was funny.

March 17--Dear Elder: Last Letter Installment for the Week

Dear Elder, 
Hi!  Thanks for the letter and for "chatting" with me.  I loved reading your insights on faith.  You said you haven't learned much yet, but I think you have!  What happened with the man from Florida and the lady who needed a blessing?  It is wonderful that the Spirit led you to them.  Now, their actions will reveal their level of faith, right?  I really liked your videos.  Thanks for sending them!

Today is Sunday and the weather has been beautiful lately, so I hope it will be beautiful today, also.  We plan on going to church, of course, and then tonight we have a fireside at the stake center (Blog note:  A fireside is a church meeting that usually involves a guest speaker.  It is typically held inside--rarely if ever around a campfire.  A stake is a group of congregations and a stake center is the building where members of a stake meet to worship.  The word "stake" refers to stakes of the tent of Zion mentioned in Isaiah 54:2 in the Old Testament).  I also hope we can eat dinner together after church and read your letter.  Maybe we will eat outside if the weather is good.  

Yesterday we did eat outside for lunch.  Dad had been gone at the laundry and Thomas at a band festival, but we were all together again for our picnic.  The girls moved the table out into the sun, and we had a nice meal in the fresh air.  After that, we went to see the Wizard of Oz movie which we really enjoyed.  We hoped to do a bit of walking out in the fresh air, but it got really windy so we didn't.  We got the kids a pizza for dinner, took them home, and went and got Subway for ourselves.  We went to the laundry where Dad smashed his finger while unloading a dryer from the little pick-up.  He says it's not broken, but it really hurts him.  He didn't get the sink installed yet.  He kept needing more parts and when he went to complete the process last night, he discovered that he needed yet another part.

Friday Dad and I went shopping.  We bought me a smart phone.  I think Dad is hoping it will make me smarter, ha ha.  We got to see Jon who was working at the time, and visit with him as we got the phone.  That night while Dad worked on the sink, I talked to Cassandra on the phone and she helped me download some apps including the gospel library which has scriptures, Preach My Gospel, Teachings of the Prophets, etc.  It is coming in handy already.    

(Here is where I will insert the previous letter installment)

Matt, I love you very much and I pray for you every day.  I am so glad that you can serve Heavenly Father by bringing his children the gospel.  I know that he will answer my prayers and help you in every endeavor.  


Friday, March 15, 2013

March 13--Dear Elder Installment

Today is Friday and Dad and the kids have a day off school.  Katrina has play practice, Thomas has band camp, and Miriam is staying home till the evening unless she hangs out with me and Dad.   Dad and I will be putting in the kitchen sink today.  Yay!!  After that, we will still have a couple of cabinets to be replaced and then the fridge can be put back where it goes and the painters can finish painting.  It has been a loooong process, but it looks great :)

Yesterday Elizabeth and her two youngest came over to visit, and we had lots of fun.  I had fun giving her a tour of our new kitchen and feeding her girls lots of good food.  Later, Dad and I went out for awhile and then we went home to get me some sleep.  I am having serious non-sleep issues and it's really beginning to affect me.  We are trying natural sleep aids, but so far no good.  I have been up since 3:00 am :(  I sure hope that my lack of sleep won't spoil our day.  Thomas had a get together with friends at Hayden's last night and Miriam went shopping with two friends.  They ended up her afterward to watch a movie.  Jon and Katrina bought and ate cookies.

It has been a nice week.  Thomas is doing track and he says he's not very good, but he likes working hard and trying to improve.  He's not into competing with anyone except himself.  Katrina has been practicing for a play called Eiffel Tower ...something.  I can never remember.  She is performing it on Monday, so that is what we will do for family home evening that day.  Miriam had an hour long job interview with State Farm, and they were really impressed with her, so we'll see what happens with that.  Just now Miriam came in and said she has another interview today at 2:30.  Pretty exciting!

Also this week Cassandra, Lily, and I were able to SKYPE which was really fun!  Cassandra's been decorating her house and it really looks cute.  She's getting to be quite crafty.  Lily is really talking.  My favorite thing that she says is, "I'm Lily!"  Emerson is working more these days so they moved Lily's bedtime back an hour so that she can see her daddy.


The Wedding

Jacob and Celeste

Me and My Family

Some of us siblings with Grandma

Me and Grandma

The Play

March 10--Letters to Matt from Aunts, Uncles, Grandpa and Grandma

Dear Elder,

It looks like I get to go first. I hope you got my email from just the other day. Not much has changed, but I’ll give you an update. Friday was cold and really stormy here in Mesa. There were hail and high winds. Saturday was quite a bit better, which is good since that was Celeste and Jacob's wedding day. Their wedding and reception both went well. I am grateful to have seen the sealing and to have been at the reception. All my out-of-town children came here for the wedding, and in fact all six of them are in our house right now. It is so fun! Well I love you and am glad that you are doing a good job in Mexico. Congratulations on the recent baptisms.

Grandpa Haws

Dear Matthew,

Hi! How are you doing? I found out that I can email you! Your mom says you print out your letters now, so it won’t take up all your email time if I write. Yay! I’m at Gma and Gpa Haws’s house for Celeste’s wedding. It’s so nice to see everyone!

I enjoy reading your mom’s blog and hearing about how you’re doing and what you’re up to. It’s so wonderful to have missionaries in the family. My kids love to hear about how you’re doing. Thanks for being such a great example! We sure love you!

Elizabeth =)

Hola Elder!
Como estas?  Is it getting pretty hot there in Mexico?  We are in Arizona, but it has been cold!  Thank you for your hard work and great example.  We love you!  Auntie Sarah

¡Hola Élder Cole!  Que bueno es poder escribirte.  ¿Cómo va la obra?  It has been fun here with the family.  We had an inspirational stake conference with Grandma and Grandpa, and it reinforces to me how important your (our) work is.  I hope everything goes well for you.


Hi Elder,
It’s been an exciting few weeks as we went to Jessica’s wedding and then later had all our kids here for Celeste’s wedding. Our grandkids are the best. I love to read your letters on your mom’s blog. We pray each day for you as you serve the lord.  Love to you, Gma Haws

Hi, It’s been so fun to see your mom and the brothers and sisters here for Celeste’s wedding.  It’s awesome to have two missionaries out in the family!  We are so proud of you, and all you are doing.  What a wonderful opportunity for you to share the gospel with people whom the Lord has prepared for you.  We pray that you may be led to those who want to hear your message.
Lots of love, Julie and family.

March 11--Letter from Matt

Hey, this will be a letter to answer the questions that you had last week, we'll see if it works.

Katrina. you should read alma 32:38-39 and think about how the ''ground'' or ''earth'' in that passage could be a gift of faith. How did your trip to disneyland go? I'm really glad that you were able to go. That's weird to think that you are almost all done with school. Have I thought about souvenirs? no, but I might buy a hammock and bring it back...

Dad, What did Key ask about? I remember that he was really impressed that I didn't punch someone in the face or something close to that haha! Vic has cancer? I really didn't know that. Is he doing well? That's cool about the pawn shop, I see how you would love that. but you gotta remember that seeing your kids have fun will be funner than anything else that you could do. :)

Miriam, I'm sad to hear that preston is now gone. I know what that feels like a little bit, but you are going to have to... find a way to be happy I guess, this is going to be a dangerous time for you because you will be looking for sommething else to ''replace'' preston in your life (i`m not talking about finding another guy to replace him) choose something good to put into your life and not something bad. I suggest that you put god more in your life, I'm not doing that as a missionary, but as someone who cares about you.

Thomas, I read just a little bit that you broke your finger! What the heck?!?! How did you do that, I cant wait to read about it. So what are you going to do now that the play is over?

Mom, I have learned almost nothing, and that's the best part of this all, I still have a year left here and I plan on using it to the fullest. I thought it was very funny your comment about not many other people that fly to and from the provo air-port. you're right haha. I also liked that jalepeño was your vegetable with thomas, I can't wait to read your lettter this week!

well, this week... I don't know what to write about but, I will write about a cool experiance that I had! Saturday, in a prayer I did I asked that my companion and I could be the answer to someone's prayer. well we were, twice. The first one we saw a lady walking down the street and I had the impression to talk to her, so I did. When I asked her if we could present ourselves with her, she told me that she was busy but some other time, so I said, ''Ok, we can walk and talk!'' so we started to walk with her, after a little talking she started telling us some of her health problems and that she had been wondering what to do for some time. we told her about preistohood blessing and how we can give them when people ask us. She said she would love that, and gave us her phone number and told us to call her. (she lives in another missionary's area so we later gave the number to them).

Another one was in the night, we were walking down the street and we saw a man walking a dog, he didn't look like an outstanding gentlemen because his clothes weren't that clean and when he started walking towards us, I was a little un-sure of his intentions. He asked us for money, saying that he didn't want to be rude or anything like that but that he was very hungry, we told him that we didn't have any change but would be willing to walk to a store (there are little stores in every corner) and buy him something to eat, while we were walking, he told us that he had been deported for the U.S. from Florida, I didn't really belive him until he started talking in perfect English. He told us that he had been in Cabo for 4 days and hadn't been able to find a job or earn any money, and was at his rope's end and before he saw us was thinking about robbing someone or something like that to eat, but didn't want to because he wasn't that kind of a person. after we bought him some food we talked a little bit about the church with him and invited him to church the next morning, he said he was going to go. we said good bye to him. Love you all! untill next week!

PS  I was going to send more videos but I ran out of time... haha.

March 11--"Chatting" with Matt

I checked my email and found a video posted by Matt just a couple of minutes earlier.  I emailed him real quick and he answered.  Here is some of our conversation.

Are you on right now?


Hi!  How was your week?

it went very well, there are a lot of things that I need to improve and change this week but, it was a great week.

How was it great?

you´ll just have to wait for my letter now wont you?

Ha ha, I guess so!  My plane was 3 hours late getting in today :(  But I'm home now :)  Is your companion there?  Tell him "Hi."  I don't know what questions to ask because I don't know what will be in your letter :)

haha, ok ask away and I'll tell you if they are in the letter or not.

What teaching did you do this week?

teaching? Well we talked a lot about faith and what it is. what do you consider to be faith?

Hmmm....Faith to be faith must be centered in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Faith is the first principle of the gospel.  Faith is knowing that with God, everything will work out.  Faith increases with faithfullness.  Faith produces great power.  Faith is hope in things that are not seen that are true.  Faith is not faith unless it is tried...  What are your thoughts?

faith is the confidence in something or someone that leads to accion. w/o accion there is no faith. :)

The BD says faith must be centered in Christ to produce salvation.  Ya, faith doesn't just increase with faithfullness (righteous actions), it is produced through faithfullness.

I didn't quite understand that last sentence, could you explain it more?

Pretty much, I was using the word "faithfullness" in place of action.  I think it means the same thing.  Righteous action leads to faith and increases our faith.  You make an important point that I neglected--faith is all about action!!!

haha, yeah, well faith in Jesus Christ is the confidence in Him and that through following Him we will be able to be eternally happy. Anything any one does in this life is to make them happy, in the present or future, having faith in Jesus Christ is trusting enough that His path will lead to the most happiness, and the secret to being happy (or having joy) is to look out, and not in.

Wow Matt, that is amazing.
I have to remember your secret to being happy.  You are so right!

gotta go! haha, that's why Hevenly Father can't/wont bless a sinner with the celestial kingdom, because it would be a hell for them, not a heaven.

Marsi Upial
Wow, Matt. That makes so much sense.

Bye, Matt.  I love you!

March 10--Letters from the Family to Matt

Dear Matt,

Today Preston went off to the Marines and we are all really sad that he is leaving. He's like a brother now. On  Wednesday I smashed my finger in weight training and got blood all over the weights. I went into shock and was wandering around the school 'til my friend finally helped me.  I was rushed to the Doctor's by Dad.  The Doctor took forever because he's a JERK!  I got four stitches and found out that my bone was fractured. It was pretty fun.  Now Katrina and I both have gross finger stories.  The play went well.  A lot of people liked my Jamaican accent and said I did really good.  I only messed up, like, five times.  My face really hurts from the makeup.  How many people have you baptized?  Tell me about it, because I don't know.  I love you!

(Typed by the ever charitable and kind Katrina, due to the fact that the dictator of the letter could not type because of the aforementioned fractured finger.)

Dear Elder,

How's Mexico?  Utah's getting warmer.  It was 51 degrees today.  I went to Thomas's play on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It was pretty good for a Jr. High play.  I found out that I might have gotten a part in the one act that we're doing.  Some kid quit, or something like that.  I'm pretty excited.  Like Thomas said, he hurt his finger.  It looks pretty gross, but not as gross as my finger was.  Third term is almost over.  I have one A- in math.  :P  I took the ACT plan test on Saturday.  It was really easy.  I finished all of the sections.  So how do you feel your mission has helped you?  It's great that you decided to go.  Are you enjoying living somewhere else?  Does it make you appreciate the U.S. more?



Preston went to the Marines today. I can't believe it. I'm still stunned. I hope you had a good week!  I'm sorry I'm not writing much, I'm just having a hard night.


Dear Matt,
Yeah, Miriam IS having a bad night, but she was really brave for Preston, We had him over for breakfast and then went to Stake Conference with us.  BTW, Thomas was AMAZING as Sebatian, I am so proud of him.  So I don't think I've told you for awhile but I think you are hilarious when you send us your videos and pictures, I totally get your humor.  It does drive Mom crazy but I think it is very funny.  So yeah, it shinks having mom gone but she is having fun with her sisters.  I felt very alone Saturday, I'd had a hard and frustrating day and everyone was gone.  I almost bought a ticket to watch OZ, the Great and Powerful, a prequal of the Wizard of Oz that Disney did, It is supposed to be really good, but then I realized I wouldnt be home when everybody got home so I just went to Cabelas instead.

 I had to work at the laundry today for like 4 hours, See Vic used to be the one who waxed the floor, but he just isn't up to it anymore, so I had to strip it and wax it and buff it, I have to do that every few months and the only day you can do it is Sunday.  Sigh, So do you ever see crowds of Gringos from the cruise ships?, do people ever think you are a tourist? do you ever see famous people?  Are there very many members there?  We went to a Catholic Mission that was about a half hour from Cabo, it was like the first one there, the Indians killed all of the Priests the first time.  So do you ever run into Priests or nuns?  I always had really good experiences when I did in Japan, but I have heard that not so much in Mexico, they see you as more of a threat, I hope that is not true.  I pray for you and am so proud, I love to hear your letters,  Miriam didn't tell you but she got a full scholarship to UVU so she is excited about that.  I hope you have a wonderful week

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 10--Dear Elder

Dear Elder

Hi!  Before I forget, I wanted to tell you that I went to Kyle's house the other day to return something of his that I found in the TV cabinet (just a little pamphlet that went with a DVD you borrowed from him).  Wow, his parents are sooo friendly!  Anyway, they said he is going on a mission to Germany.  Pretty cool, huh?

It is Wednesday morning and I am going over to Elizabeth's to watch her kids.  I was there yesterday, too until 6:30 last night.  Isaac is in the hospital with an infected arm, and that's why I was watching the other kids--so Elizabeth could be with him..  He was in the hospital because if the infection had been in his elbow joint, it would have been real bad.  Happily, they found out that it is not in his joint, so he can come home sometime morning and I'll be watching the other kids till then.

Katrina came over at around 3:30 to help me and we made dinner--cream of vegetable soup, chicken, and rolls.  It was fun to be cooking with her.  It's always more fun to work at someone else's house than your own.

Dad had an evaluation at work yesterday and he said it went fine.  He has been having some good, uplifting conversations with his students lately.  He's such a good teacher, although sometimes he gets burned out.  President Monson's counsel to see people as they can be, has really helped him out in teaching.   I'm so grateful for the prophet!

Miriam left at 6:00 this morning for an FBLA competition.  FBLA is another business organization.  She interviewed for a job yesterday and she said it went okay.  She didn't interview with the person she was supposed to interview with.  Preston leaves Sunday for the Marines, and she and he have been attending lots of family going away parties, etc.  They are having trouble fitting it all in.  Last night his aunt and uncle took them out to eat.  Sounds like it was pretty fun.

Thomas and Jon have been having fun playing Legos Star Wars lately.  Sounds exciting!  Tonight is the first night of Thomas's play.  Don and Renee are coming over to attend it with us.  I haven't even seen his costume, yet which is funny since I usually have to sew their costumes.  I'm very excited to see it.  He performed it for the Junior High yesterday and said they liked it.

Friday I fly out for Celeste's wedding.  I am so excited to see everyone.  Do you realize that Julie's little girl is two years old, and I haven't even seen her yet?  I haven't met Celeste's fiance, Jacob yet, either.  And all my siblings will be there.  It will be so fun to visit with them and Grandpa and Grandma and Julie's family and Tom's family.  I hope I'll get to see Great Grandma, too.

Well, the week has flown by and it is already Sunday.  Wednesday was quite a day.  Elizabeth and Isaac were still in the hospital till 11:00 am so I was on my way to her house early that morning to watch her little girls till then, when Dad called.  Thomas had smashed his finger in weight training and Dad was taking him to the doctor.  He needed me to come take over so that he could get back to work.  Elizabeth found a neighbor to watch her kids and I hurried to the clinic and took Dad’s place.  Thomas ended up with a fractured finger and 4 stitches.  That night was the opening night of the play, too!  Luckily they just stitched him up, put his finger in a splint, put him on antibiotics, and sent him back to school.  Boy was the drama teacher happy to see him!

That night at the play, Thomas did a wonderful job!  Do you realize that he basically sang two solos—“Under the Sea” and “Kiss The Girl.”  He looked and sounded great.  Me, Dad, Katrina, Aunt Renee and Donny were there to see him.  The next night, Katrina, Dad, and I went again along with Miriam and Preston.  We took some good pictures and I’ll make sure to send you some.

Friday I packed up and left for Arizona.  Dad is so sweet, he drove the van out on the jetty to watch my plane take off.  How many husbands would do that?  I sat by two very nice people, a mom going to visit her parents for the weekend and a returned missionary going to visit his girlfriend for a week.  Rick and Elizabeth were on the flight, but I didn’t sit by them.  When I got to Mesa, it had been raining and I breathed in deeply the smell of wet chaparral on the desert. It was heavenly.

Saturday was Celeste’s wedding and it was so wonderful to be at the same temple that Dad and I got married in and see Celeste and Jacob sealed together for time and all eternity.   After the wedding we got pictures, and we were able to get a picture of all us siblings together.  We also got a nice picture with all the siblings and Grandpa and Grandma Haws.  After that, Grandpa gave Grandma a deep dip and a passionate kiss.  The photographer got a great picture of them doing that and us kids looking appalled.  It was so cute!

Between the wedding and luncheon we got to go to visit Great Grandma.  It was a quick visit, but nice, and we got some good pictures with her.  The luncheon was yummy and fun.  The reception was fun, too.   I got to see my Aunt Dixie and some of her family, my uncle Ed and Aunt Dana, and my Cousin Nathan and his family.  I held Julies little girl, Mandy a lot and gave her tons of food.

Today we went to Grandpa and Grandma’s stake conference and Julie and Kelly and kids came, too.  Elder Whiting of the Seventy spoke and gave a wonderful message.  The subject was to face our tents towards the temple like King Benjamin's people and not towards Sodom like Lot and his family.  He talked about going to the temple with one of our children in our hearts, praying for inspiration and blessings on their behalf.  I want to go to the temple more often and to live a more consecrated life.

Now we are all together at Grandpa and Grandma’s.  It is twilight and I am on the back porch.  The doves are cooing and a little breeze is blowing.  I can hear talking and laughing inside.  It is nice to be here even though it is no longer home.  For me, home is with Dad and you kids, now, later in the temple when we are all able to worship together, and ultimately together with all of you in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Mother forever.

I love you, Matt.  The distance between us is only temporary;  it is nothing compared years and the eternities we will enjoy together as a family.   Isn't the plan of salvation glorious  !


March 4--Quick Note From Matt

Hey I have about... No time to write you all individually so you will all get a ''Joint letter,'' If you asked me a question I will have to give you an answer next week, because I printed out all of the letters. I think that I'm giong to do that from now on, print out the letters, read them in the house and answer them the next week, so if you want to ask me a question and you want an answer in that same week, send it to me in a seporate letter with the subject title something like: ''Answer this letter this week!'' or something like that, ok? Anyway, I gained a stronger testimony of fasting and praying this fast sunday, all of the things I fasted for, ''came to pass'' haha, Yes, two people got baptised, a young family named manuel and anahí, they are a great couple. They have 2 kids and got married one day before the baptism to live the law of chastity. We got to be witnesses! Here in Mexico you have to have 4 witnesses to get married and we were 2 of the 4. What else happened.... We met a lot of good people. I love you all and I hope that you are all doing well, I cant wait to read your letters!

March 4--Letters to Matt From Family Members

Dear Matt,
Two people baptized? Wow.  Thanks for the letter, it helped.  I think that there are different levels of faith, I was talking about a lower level, and you were talking about a higher level.  Or maybe I was talking about belief, or hope.  What I still don’t get is the faith is a gift part.  Why is it a gift?  What does it mean if you have the gift of faith?  Doesn’t everyone have the gift of faith, to some extent?  Anyway, Miriam and I went to DECA state competition.  We got third and qualified for Nationals.  Nationals are in Anaheim.  We’ll be going to Disneyland for a couple of days and a Los Anglos baseball game.  It should be really fun.  I tried out for the one act play that we’re doing for region.  It’s called Eiffel Tower Wedding.  I’ll find out if I got the part tomorrow.  The term’s almost over.  One more term and we’ll be out of school. Yay.  Anyway, sounds like it’s going well for you.  We’re all praying for you.
P.s. Have you thought about souvenirs?  

Wow Matt,
The arch, the way cool arch!  It IS COOL!!! and it brings back memories.  I went Scuba diving not far from that arch.  Cabo is sooo pretty!  Key Daily asked about you today in church.  Today Miriam, Mom and me were all in the same Sunday School class.  So the science fair was cool, the little boy spoke English really well so I don't know what everyone was so excited about.  They were short judges so they just wanted me to be a regular judge too.  There were so many cute kids who had worked so hard. well one kid hadn't.  He wasn't happy to be there.  So Vic is done with Chemo and Radiation treatments, I hope his cancer is better.  I have my boss evaluating me this week.  I hope that goes well, everybody has to be evaluated so it's not anything special.  Do you remember the TV show Pawn Stars?  It is my favorite show...anyway we are going to Grandpa and Grandma's for Spring Break  and I thought, why not take an extra day stay in Vegas and have a Pawn Stars Vacation Tour.  Go and visit the Pawn Shop, go the the Clark County Museum where the guy is that they always bring in, go to American Restoration.  Sounds silly I know, but I would really love it.  Well, I love you, I am glad to hear about your two baptisms.

Last week, Katrina and I were able to compete in the State DECA competition (DECA is a business and marketing club). We placed third in the financial services category, which means we are moving on to nationals at the end of April. They’re in Anaheim this year and we get to stay in the Disneyland hotel! It’s pretty exciting . Now we just have to figure out how to pay for it. For my birthday, Preston and I went out for lunch, went to a movie, went to the Springville art museum, went to Barnes and Noble, went shopping, had cake and ice cream at home and then went to Nickel Mania. It was a fun day! I’m not sure how Preston feels about a mission. He has a four year contract with the Marine Corps so I don’t know. I hope you have a great week!

Dear Matt,
Miriam sounds all nice in that letter she wrote but don’t buy it, haha. So This week I start performing the play and I am pretty nervous I hope that I do good, by the time that you receive this I will be done with the play though and you can ask me about how bad I messed up haha. Lately all my life has been going to play practice and that’s it so there isn’t much to tell you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4--Last Installment of Today's Letter to Matt

Dear Elder,

Hi!  Thanks for the email.  I appreciate what you said about Christ and Peter.  I can tell by what you said, that you have learned a lot.  I want to be more valiant in my love for Jesus Christ, and to do a better job at feeding His sheep.  During my trip to Cassandra's I tried to talk to the many people I met on airplanes and shuttles.  I hoped a cheerful conversation would help them have a nice day.  I also mentioned that I was a member of the church, and mentioned my beliefs as they came up in the conversation.  I was prepared to answer questions if anyone asked me any, which they didn't.  On the shuttle back to the airport in Texas, the driver and I had a nice talk about religion.   We discovered many things that we had in common and he expressed admiration for our focus on families.  Our conversation was cut short by our reaching the airport.

 I felt good about all the conversations I had with God's children that week, and met some wonderful people.  I have been praying that when I fly again this next weekend that I will sit by someone in need of the Gospel.

I liked the picture you sent.  It was nice to see your face, and to see your companion and also the arch.  I think the arch is cool because it sits right on the tip of the peninsula.  You are welcome for making sure we had scriptures and prayer when you were growing up, and I am so glad it helped.  I don't know how people get along without them.  They are an absolutely essential part of my day, which reminds me that I haven't read my scriptures yet this morning, but don't worry, I will.  I just want to make sure that you got this letter.

 Here are some email installments I wrote to you earlier in the week (Blog note:  This is where I pasted the rest of this week's letter installments to Matt)

  The rest of yesterday was nice.  We took Katrina out driving, but she's not ready to be out on the road, so we ended up going backwards in a parking lot most of the time.  Then Dad took over the driving and we went to Wash Hut and the kids got treats.  On the way home, we read a First Presidency message written by President Hinkley way back in 2004 because that's the only Ensign I could find at Wash Hut.  When we got home, we wrote letters to you.  Tonight we plan to have family home evening.  Today I am doing laundry, finances, and shopping, and I also have to let the cabinet delivery guys in.  Our refrigerator should be back in place, and that just leaves the counter tops and sink to be installed.  Can't wait!  I am also corresponding with Grandpa Haws right now about 2N 29:9, and that might end up being my scripture reading for today, ha ha.  Later, my childhood friend, Lorrie'L is going to call for our bi-decade phone conversation.  That will be so fun!

I love you very much, Matt, and hope your week is wonderful

PS I tried to take pictures this morning, but the camera was dead.  I had Preston take pictures at Miriam's birthday, but he hasn't sent them to me yet.  I will try again next week!

March 3--Letter to Matt Installment: Saturday

Today is Fast Sunday, so I am fasting and praying.  I always fast and pray for you and the rest of the family, and today I am especially fasting that I will get over my insomnia.  I am so tired of being tired, ha ha.

Yesterday was so nice and sunny!  Katrina and I spent time together doing errands.  I really enjoyed being with her.  We also got yogurt parfaits at MacDonald's.  When Dad got home from the laundry, he and I went walking up and down Center Street.  We have driven by the temple there many times and thought that they weren't doing much work on it.  Well, we found out that the ground under the temple has been dug away and the whole thing is lifted up to ground level, resting on giant beams.  We couldn't tell because of the fence surrounding it which hid the bottom of the structure.  So yesterday on our walk, Dad and I walked around the temple and got a good look at the construction.  It is amazing!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mar 2--Letter to Matt Installment: Birthday, Temple, Carpet, DECA, Play

Today is Saturday and the temperature is supposed to be up in the fifties.  We are so excited.  We hope we can get outside and do something as a family.  Sadly, Thomas is cooped up at the school having an all-day play rehearsal.  It will be over around 5:00.  His play starts in 4 days.  I can't wait to see it.  He likes his costume okay but says smells stinky.  

Miriam is working at the laundry to earn money, and Preston is also there keeping her company.  Dad is there, too, doing his Saturday work.  Katrina and I are at home, and I think Jon is here, too.  He has to work today, I think.  Katrina got back from Children's Choir practice about an hour ago and I am going to a baptism in a half hour.  

Yesterday Dad and I went to the temple.  It was so nice to be there!  I am really thankful that I am married to a man worthy in every way to enter into the House of the Lord, and that I can be with him there.  I really felt the Spirit of the temple, and I know going there blesses our marriage and our family.  After that we ate Mexican food and came home to watch a film noir.

Miriam and Katrina spent all day Thursday and Friday at a DECA conference, and guess what...they won third place and qualified for nationals!  Pretty exciting, huh?  We are so proud of them!  They didn't have a very fun trip otherwise, but survived it okay.

Thursday night Dad worked at the laundry, so it was just me and Thomas.  I let him decide what we should have for dinner and he chose to buy a rotissiere chicken.  He also wanted jalapeno Cheetos, so I told him the jalapeno could be our vegetable.  It was a very balanced meal.  We got a Redbox movie, and invited Jon to eat and watch it with us.  We three had a very nice evening together.

Miriam turned 18 Wednesday, and she and Preston were excited that they could finally go out on a single date alone.  Miriam was happy because school was a half day that day, so they had a nice long date.  First they went out for lunch, then they went shopping at D.I.  You may not know this, but shopping at DI takes a looooong time, and poor Preston got to watch Miriam pick out and try on clothes.  They came back here for dinner and lemon cake and icecr eam.  Katrina and I cooked and frosted the cake, but Miriam decorated it and it was very pretty.  

After that, Dad and I had a visit from Steve and Brother Foster.  I guess the Elder's Quorum does stake visits, and since Brother Foster is the Elder's Quorum Pres. as well as our home teacher, he asked to visit us.  While we did that, the kids went to the nickle arcade together.  Preston had 6 coupons for free admission, so that's why they took the kids.  They seemed to have fun and came home happy.

Tuesday I substituted for a very easy class, thank goodness, because I am always sleep deficit and couldn't have handled a hard class that day.  Monday we got new carpet.  Hooray!  The house is so pretty.  We still are sink-less, but I hope we will have one before I go to Celeste's wedding at the end of next week. 

Welp, that's it for now.

"Chatting" with Matt

Monday I was on the email with Matt, so we emailed back and forth for awhile.  Here's our conversation:

Me:  Hi, Matt.  Are you on?
Matt:  Yup.  :)
Me:  Cool!  How are you today?
Matthew:  I'm doing very well, hah, and you?
Me:  I'm doing really good. I know you need time to read your letters. Should I not email you more?
Matthew:  No, don't worry about it, I'm already writing, I read fast. That was a great experience that you had with Thomas.
Me:  Ya, it was really amazing.  Have you had any cool experiences lately?  You can just add them to your family letter.  We have lots of questions like why did you attend a seminary for awhile and how do you like your new companion.
Matthew:  well, seminary is basically a chance to learn new things with the mission president. It isn't like a normal seminary. I don't know why he chose me as one of the people to attend, but I'm sure glad that he did.
Me:  Wow, that is so cool! Have you been able to apply anything that you have learned?
Matthew:  hah.... Yes. Every day almost every moment. There are so many things that we can do if we are really dedicated to change. I learned a lot from seminary and a lot from applying the things I learned there.
Me:I hope you can tell us about some of your experiences.  How do you like your new companion?
Matt:  He's great, I'll try to write about the experiences but I think the letter is gonna be more about something else. Mom, Thanks for always reading the scriptures to us and praying. Looking back... That helped a lot.
Me:  Whatever your letter is about, I will love it.  Should I leave you to your writing, or can we talk more?
Matt:  Don't worry, I still have a little bit of time. :) how you been?
Me:  Really good, Matt.  After Friday's attitude adjustment, I am doing great.  Today we got new, carpet, by the way.  The two guys who installed it couldn't speak much Spanish and I wanted to tell them that you are in Mexico on a mission, but I didn't know if they'd understand me.  They did a beautiful job installing the carpet.  Our house is sure looking nice!
Matt:  That's great! I gotta go now but it sure was fun talking to you. Mom, I didn't get to write to you but I hope that you like the letter I did write. I love you!
Me:  Bye, Matt!
I love you!

Feb 25--Email from Matt

a picture of that one arch thingy that everyone loves... I have no idea why...

Dad, That is great! I know that you really like helping other people improve their work status and knowledge. As for poverty stricken.... well, we don't see that as much, that's more out-side of the city. THere are a lot of nice homes here and I wouldn't be at all suprised that they belonged to movie stars. well, there you go, that's just another way that your mission is blessing you. Now you get to sit there and do nothing for a few hours haha, no I'm sure that you will like it.

Katrina, I sent you an e-mail explaining what faith is, strangely enough, I studied faith this morning so I was very prepared to answer your question. I think that will be your email for the week, you should share it with your teacher and see what he thinks about it.

Miriam, as you said it takes two to get married, so if one person says no, there you go! haha, well, I hope that you have a fabulous birthday! What did you do? (I ask that because by the time I hear from you, you will have already celebrated) .

Thomas, Thanks for your letter bud, haha Did anyone get mad? So I heard that you had an awesome concert this last week, tell me about it!! :)

Ok, I have been thinking this for a little while so I'm just going to write it. You all remember Peter from the New Testament? Remember how he kept on denying Jesus and deserted him after his death to go fishing? What changed? Why did the people beg to be lined on the streets in hopes that just the shadow of Peter would pass over him? He changed from a luke warm disciple to an apostle that the Hosts of Hell feared.
His whole life changed when the loving Savior asked him a question: Do you love me? He answered, ''Yes.''
The Savior asked him again: ''Do YOU love ME?'' he answered ''Yes.''
Again: ''Do you LOVE me?''
and then he chose, he decided, he changed.
''Then feed my sheep.''
Finally he put the will of the Lord above his own, he didn't worry about the opinions of men, or his personal needs, he recived the commandment of the Redemer of the world and acted based upon that commandment.

When are we going to make that decision in our own life? When are we finally going to see the things as they really are? Do we have a testemony or no? If we do, what are we waiting for?! If God is real, then he knows better than us. There are one million excuses to say ''no'' or that ''I don't have time'' but, they aren't true. You have to realize that in the long run, the things of this life don't matter. Well, I hope that can help someone... I love you all! 2 People are going to be baptized this week.

Feb 25--Letters to Matt

Dear Son,
I hope that you have had a wonderful week in beautiful, poverty stricken Cabo San Lucas.  So did you know that a lot of Hollywood stars own houses down there?  Yup, Jonny Depp, Brad Pitt, and others I cant remember.  Have you been in the mall down there?  Mom and I walked through it.  We also walked around outside of the tourist area a little bit so that I could find a pharmacy and buy some prescription tetracycline to bring back.  Yeah, you can buy any antibiotic you want without a prescription down in Mexico.  

So how is the work going for you?  are you excited to hear about the new missions in Mexico?  World wide there are like 58 new missions and 7 of them are in Mexico!  That is over one thousand more missionaries in Mexico.  It is truly an exciting time to be alive.

So I survived being Marci-less till Tuesday last week, and Mom is barely surviving being Lily-less.  I spent Saturday working at the laundry and at home getting the house ready to be carpeted and touch-up painted.  I was mudding walls where there are imperfections.  

So I have been working at the Jail teaching GED, I am really starting to enjoy the success I am seeing there.  I have got several guys there to earn their GED that otherwise would never have done it.  This week another teacher called me about my Japanese language ability.  it seems that there is an exchange student at Landmark High School from Japan and he is going to be in the Science Fair and they want judges that can speak Japanese.  I pointed out that unless his project was about the nature of God I doubt that I would understand much and it has been 27 years since I have been back, but they said that even someone with a small knowledge of Japanese was better than someone with no knowledge and they said they would have 3 other Judges that would have some knowledge so they just needed a 4th. So I get to do that Tuesday. 

I love your letters!  We always read them on Family Night.
Gotta Go, I love you and am so proud of you!

Dear Matt, 
I'm sixteen and I have been for 6 months. :p I played Cherished Moments by John Schmidt for the piano solo.  I'm going to watch the school spring play, The Crucible, tomorrow.  I saw a run through of it on Wednesday; it's so good!  I haven't done much with my life lately.  I've just been watching Downton Abbey and trying to get my NG fixed.  Oh, and school.  
So how are you liking Cabo San Lucas?  In Seminary, we've been learning a lot about faith.  I realized that faith is not good enough.  We have to move on to the next stage, knowing.  We may fall back to faith sometimes, but we can't stay there, or else we move backwards.  I've asked my Seminary teacher what the gift of faith was, but he was very vague about it, and I don't really understand.  What do you think it is?  Why is it a gift?  Why isn't knowledge a gift instead?  I've looked it up in the scriptures, but they don't answer that specifically, they just mention it as a gift.  If you could help me out with that, that would be great.  Email me what you think at my email address.  You don't have to answer next week, but it would be nice to get the answer soon.  :)  


Preston's doing great! About waiting till you get back, it takes two to get married so you'll have to convince Preston too! :) So you're in Cabo? How fun! I wish I was there :/ It's so cold up here! I thought we were going to get some spring weather, but it wasn't so. I didn't do much last week. . .Preston is leaving for basic training on March 10th so he and I are trying to hang out as much as possible before he leaves. This Wednesday is my birthday and I'll finally be turning 18! How are you liking Cabo? How are you doing? Have a great week!


Dear matt,
Oh!! I meant that we did the same thing the next day, not we did the next thing yesterday, for the stand-up I did a roast to the people in the ward like Sister Bate is short and stuff like that, sadly we did not record it but I would send it to you if someone had. Wanna know something funny? We were watching Ben Hur and there's a part in the ship were they say “ramming speed!” well I had seen that a long time ago and I didn’t understand I thought that they meant sheep speed, like a ram is a sheep, anyways when we were watching it right before he said “ramming speed” I said hey isn’t this when they say sheep speed? Then everyone laughed at me cus they are mean, anyways that’s all that’s been happening to me lately, bye.